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Author Topic: Telecomms in the 1990s (as seen from the 1960s)  (Read 2989 times)

phi2008

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Telecomms in the 1990s (as seen from the 1960s)
« on: November 25, 2018, 02:17:13 PM »

From the Post Office Research Station, Dollis Hill -

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burakkucat

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Re: Telecomms in the 1990s (as seen from the 1960s)
« Reply #1 on: November 25, 2018, 04:12:15 PM »

 :)
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:cat:  100% Linux and, previously, Unix. Co-founder of the ELRepo Project.

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Weaver

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Re: Telecomms in the 1990s (as seen from the 1960s)
« Reply #2 on: November 30, 2018, 06:45:52 AM »

I think we’re so lucky that we have this record of how one group of people were imagining it. The world of course was really in the hands of DARPA not at Dollis Hill, and a telephone company could not see that the world was going to go in another direction and the as yet unimaginable internet would one day take all levels of networking architecture away from the phone company bods. The failure of OSI marked one of the transitions points where control over direction finally moved to rather different kinds of designers and developers.

So much was still analog in that, they couldn’t foresee microelectronics and especially not the spectacular effect of twenty five years of Moore’s Law 1970-1995. Nor was the idea of pervasive software shaping everything. The bit about coax rings being interlinked with more coax was interesting. So they got some of that right, an internet made of interconnected LANs, but unfortunately no detail. And they might have been thinking of the whole lot as being bridged unti a giant LAN-like L2 domain for all I know, it didn’t say. It mentioned pulse code modulation though, so another thing right, they had things digital and true digital too, not some nonsense like PWM or PPM. (I’m trying to remember what SACD uses?). And remember the Philips Laserdisc?

I wonder exactly what year that was made? And what was DARPA up to at that exact same time?

Wasn’t Dollis Hill the place where Tommy Flowers worked?

I used to live close by, in Willesden Green. Useless random fact for ancient hippies. The album ‘Tales from Topographic Oceans’ was recorded in a studio just down the road from there.
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sevenlayermuddle

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Re: Telecomms in the 1990s (as seen from the 1960s)
« Reply #3 on: November 30, 2018, 10:12:41 AM »

Fascinating. And I’d say pretty much spot-on accuracy, as to what an FTTP network would look like, albeit modelled on coax which was the available technology. :)

Re Post Office Dollis Hill, my own understanding is they provided one or two vaguely useful contributions, such as the world’s first programmable computer, the Colossus used at Bletchley Park.

Arguably, I’d suggest their closest US contemporary might have been Bell Labs, which contributed things like the transistor, the laser, Unix, ‘C’, among many other pretty amazing inventions and creations.

Not convinced about Darpa’s overall creative influence, wasn’t their mission strictly military, albeit with beneificial side-effects?

As for date, there was a reference to a charge of one new penny, so I’m guessing very early seventies.   One interesting point, the lady dialling the number on the console dialled in an 07845 number.   That would be a mobile number today, maybe they forgot to mention the plans for mobile networks? :D
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Weaver

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Re: Telecomms in the 1990s (as seen from the 1960s)
« Reply #4 on: November 30, 2018, 02:33:12 PM »

DARPA was entirely military but the internet that they produced, the ARPANET of course won the architecture competition when TCP/IP after the seventies and very early eighties was in a working packet switched network and defeated OSI at the end of the 80s. X.25 had many successful years and was still just about hanging in in the 1990s, as I wrote some software for it in 1995, even as late as that. But I suppose the killer apps of IP and TCP, ftp, telnet, email etc were finally joined by the web and that was the biggest killer app ever and there was the support of Unix. And what killer apps did OSI have?

So I would say that DARPA and its 1970 ish or whenever work in packet switched networks was the way to the future and they were not telcos, its circuit-switched lower layers were out. Circuit-switched design keeps on coming back though as it has a lot to be said for it. Indeed it came back again, really late, in ATM, albeit over a packet switched lower layer (cells though not the ordinary conception of ‘packets’ but it is still muxing with time division on the links). And IP killed ATM, and expensive fiasco, so IP beats off another challenger. I’ve heard it said that there were two world-views, the view of telcos and the view of everyone else from outside that industry.
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